Opening and the first day of the Olympic Festival in Hall Z at the Brno Exhibition Center with the participation of Andrej Babiš, 2018
Leaders

Andrej Babiš

Andrej Babiš

Andrej Babiš
MP
 
 
12th Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 December 2017
President Miloš Zeman
Deputy Richard Brabec
Martin Stropnický
Preceded by Bohuslav Sobotka
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
In office
29 January 2014 – 24 May 2017
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Preceded by Jan Fischer
Succeeded by Richard Brabec
Minister of Finance
In office
29 January 2014 – 24 May 2017
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Preceded by Jan Fischer
Succeeded by Ivan Pilný
Leader of ANO 2011
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 May 2012
Preceded by Position established
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Incumbent
Assumed office
26 October 2013
 
Personal details
Born (1954-09-02) 2 September 1954
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
(now Slovakia)
Citizenship Czech Republic, Slovakia
Political party Communist Party (1980–1989)
ANO 2011 (2012–present)
Spouse(s) Beata Adamovičová (divorced)
Monika Babišová (2017–present)
Children 4
Residence Kramář’s Villa
Alma mater University of Economics, Bratislava
Net worth US$4.04 billion (in 2017)

Andrej Babiš (Czech pronunciation: [ˈandrɛj ˈbabɪʃ]😉 is a Czech politician who has been the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic since December 2017. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and entrepreneur.

Andrej Babiš was born in Bratislava in what now is Slovakia, to a Slovak family but after the Velvet Revolution he resided to the Czech Republic. From January 2014 to May 2017 he served as Finance Minister of the Czech Republic and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economy until he was dismissed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka due to allegations of financial irregularities. Andrej Babiš has led ANO 2011 since founding it in 2012 as a protest movement against established politics. He has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies (MP) since 2013. Babiš, the second richest man in the Czech Republic with estimated net worth of about $4.04 billion according to Bloomberg, is a former CEO and sole owner of the Agrofert group which owns one of the largest Czech newspapers Mladá fronta DNES and Lidové noviny.

Andrej Babiš was sacked from the government by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on 24 May 2017 after a month-long coalition crisis that initially started with allegations that Babiš avoided paying taxes as CEO of Agrofert in 2012. Despite this, Babiš is one of the most popular politicians in the Czech Republic.

During his tenure at the Ministry of Finance, Andrej Babiš introduced controversial policies such as electronic registration of sales, known as EET, proposed reverse charging of value-added tax, and VAT control statement for companies. He has been criticized for tightening regulations on small and medium-sized enterprises and sole proprietorship while turning a blind eye to big corporations and helping his own Agrofert holding.

Following the 2017 legislative election which resulted in a hung parliament with no possible coalitions, Andrej Babiš was appointed Prime Minister on 6 December 2017 and a week later formed a minority government composed of ANO party members and independents. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the premiership, as well as the first Prime Minister in the history of the Czech Republic to be from a different party than ODS or ČSSD. On 16 January 2018, his government lost motion of confidence vote (78 MPs for while 117 against) in the Chamber of Deputies and he resigned the following day starting new negotiations about the future government.

Babiš had been under investigation by both Czech Police and OLAF from 2015 to 2017 amid allegations that an anonymous company he controlled unlawfully received €2m subsidy from the European Union. In September 2017, he was stripped his parliamentary immunity after a police request in connection with the case and Andrej Babiš was formally charged on 9 October 2017. OLAF concluded its investigation in December 2017 stating it has found irregularities and endorsed the steps taken by the Czech Police. Due to his re-election in the 2017 election he regained his parliamentary immunity and the Chamber of Deputies voted again to lift it on 19 January 2018.

Early life and career

Babiš was born on 2 September 1954 to a Slovak family in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (present-day Slovakia). His father, a diplomat and member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, represented Czechoslovakia during negotiations with the GATT at Geneva and as a consultant at the United Nations. Andrej Babiš is nephew of Ervin and Viera Scheibner.

Babiš spent a part of his childhood abroad, being educated in Paris and Geneva. Later, he studied at a gymnasium in Bratislava and continued at the University of Economics, where he studied international trade. Following his studies, he worked as an employee of the Slovak communist controlled international trade company, Petrimex, initially joining the organisation in 1978 when it was known by its previous name, Chemapol Bratislava, in 1985 he was appointed as the organisation’s representative in Morocco. Whilst working for Petrimex he also became a Communist Party member in 1980. In addition to accusations that Andrej Babiš was a “powerful agent” for the Czechoslovak secret state security service, StB, during the Communist era, he also has been accused of being a KGB officer in those years.

He returned to Czechoslovakia from Morocco in 1991, after the Velvet Revolution, and resided in the Czech Republic after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. He became managing director of Agrofert in 1993, and gradually developed it into one of the largest companies in the country. Agrofert had been a subsidiary of Petrimex while Babiš was on the Board. During his time on the Board, Agrofert was recapitalised quietly by an obscure Swiss entity, OFI (located in the same small Swiss town, Baar, where Marc Rich was located, which took control of Agrofert from Petrimex. Petrimex later fired Andrej Babiš and sued him, unsuccessfully, for allowing the firm’s stake in Agrofert to be diluted. Soon thereafter, Babiš turned out to be the 100% owner of Agrofert. He originally focused his business activities mainly on agriculture, but in recent years he has acquired a large empire of media companies. This has brought him criticism from parties who believe he is amassing far too much power, since the media outlets he controls publish very sympathetic coverage of him.

Business career

Headquarters of Agrofert in Chodov, Prague
Headquarters of Agrofert in Chodov, Prague.

In January 1993, Andrej Babiš became managing director of a newly established Petrimex subsidiary operating in the Czech Republic, Agrofert. He had suggested establishing Agrofert while he was a director at Petrimex, and he gradually assumed full control over the new company. The (foreign) source of the initial financing for his takeover of Agrofert from Petrimex was still undisclosed as of the start of 2016,although Andrej Babiš has said that the money came from his Swiss “schoolmates”.

The company started as a wholesale and trading firm, but acquired various agricultural, food processing, and chemical companies later. In 2011 Agrofert Holding consisted of more than 230 companies, mainly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany. It is the fourth largest company in the Czech Republic by revenue exceeding CZK 117 billion. When Andrej Babiš entered politics he resigned as a CEO, but remained sole owner until February 2017 when he was forced by the law to put his companies in trust to able to stay on as Minister of Finance.

The history of Agrofert, detailed in a book by the journalist Tomáš Pergler, is closely linked to its control of the Czech petrochemicals industry. One reviewer of the book said the account “captures much of what has led Czechs to the conviction that they live in a corrupted, clientist country – and (paradoxically) then to vote for the ANO movement.”

In 2013, Agrofert purchased the company MAFRA, publisher of two of the biggest Czech newspapers Lidové noviny and Mladá fronta DNES newspapers and operating the Óčko television company. Agrofert also owns Radio Impuls, the most listened to radio station in the Czech Republic (as of late 2014).

Political career

Babiš founded his party, ANO 2011, “to fight corruption and other ills in the country’s political system” in 2011. Political scientists noted that Czech democracy is in decline, and that Andrej Babis is associated with that decline more than any other single person

I assure @ErikBest that I will never run for President. His work wouldn’t have been fun for me and I neither have assumptions for it.

— Andrej Babiš on Twitter.

His political motives have been questioned after his company, Agrofert, purchased MAFRA, one of the largest and most influential publishing houses in the Czech Republic. The party contested in Czech legislative election held in October 2013 and finished as second strongest gaining 47 seats (of 200) in the Chamber of Deputies. The American political consulting firm, Penn Schoen Berland, was credited with engineering the surprise victory.

Babiš served as the Minister of Finance in the coalition government of Social Democrats, ANO, and Christian Democrats.

Babiš has been linked closely to President Miloš Zeman since at least 2001, when Zeman was Prime Minister, and his business interests are alleged to have benefited from the association. In 2001, Zeman oversaw the sale of Unipetrol, a state-owned chemical company, to Babiš. Babiš pulled out of the sale, but later oversaw the sale of the firm to a Polish company. The sale was tainted by a massive bribery scandal, according to Polish reports, although Andrej Babiš denies any bribes were paid. The Unipetrol deal is cited often as evidence of a strong partnership between Babiš and Zeman that persists.

Babiš with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz in February 2015
Babiš with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz in February 2015

Babiš has a reputation for surrounding himself with senior police officers, security agents, and former Communist informers, to help him consolidate power.

In May 2015, after the government’s decision to extend reduced taxation of biofuels (a segment of the fuel market controlled significantly by companies in the Agrofert portfolio), the opposition decided to initiate a vote of no confidence against the cabinet.

On 26 May 2015 while speaking to the Chamber of Deputies, Babiš said that he was forced to enter politics because of ‘corrupted opposition’ (referring to the ODS) that ‘created him’.

Andrej Babiš has been quoted many times as saying that he would like to be the next Prime Minister of the Czech Republic if ANO 2011 leads the government.

In November 2016, Babiš criticized alleged links among CEFC China Energy, the Czech Social Democratic Party, and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, saying that CEFC’s focus on private Czech companies “brings no yield to the Czech Republic.”

Prime Minister (2017–present)

Andrej Babiš during his first full day in office with Visegrad Group leaders on 14 December 2017 at the European Council.
Andrej Babiš during his first full day in office with Visegrad Group leaders on 14 December 2017 at the European Council.

Following the 2017 legislative election to the Chamber of Deputies where ANO 2011 won with 29% and received 78 out of 200 MPs Babiš was asked by President Miloš Zeman to form a government. On 27 October 2017, Babiš announced that he will try to form a minority government due to the refusal of the Civic Democratic Party and other established parties to form a coalition citing Babiš’s criminal investigation regarding the EU subsidy fraud he was allegedly participating in. The SPD and Communist Party voiced their intention to join the government but were refused by Babiš.

On 6 December 2017, Babiš was appointed the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic as the only incumbent head of government to be charged with a crime by the police and prosecutor. He is also the oldest and wealthiest person to assume the premiership, as well as the first Prime Minister to be from a party other than ODS and ČSSD. He assumed the office on 13 December 2017, when his government took full control of the executive government.

During his first days in office, he visited the European Council summit dealing with fiscal responsibilities, Brexit and migration, spoke on the phone with new Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki regarding the invocation of the Article 7 by the European Commission, and his government carried out personnel changes at the ministries, Czech Railways and Railway Infrastructure Administration.

On 16 January 2018, Babiš’s cabinet lost a vote of no confidence by 117 votes against to 78 for.

Personal life

Andrej Babiš with his then-partner (now wife) Monika in 2015
Andrej Babiš with his then-partner (now wife) Monika in 2015

Andrej Babiš has four children. Two of his children come from his marriage to his ex-wife. Andrej is married to Monika with whom has two additional children.

andrej babis net worth is  US$4.04 billion (in 2017)

 

 

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